The Facts on Fracking

From The New York Times

By Susan L. Brantley and Anna Meyendorff

OPPOSITION to fracking has been considerable, if not unanimous, in the global green community, and in Europe in particular. France and Bulgaria, countries with the largest shale-gas reserves in Europe, have already banned fracking. Protesters are blocking potential drilling sites in Poland and England. Opposition to fracking has entered popular culture with the release of “The Promised Land,” starring Matt Damon. Even the Rolling Stones have weighed in with a reference to fracking in their new single, “Doom and Gloom.”

Do the facts on fracking support this opposition?

There is no doubt that natural gas extraction does sometimes have negative consequences for the local environment in which it takes place, as does all fossil fuel extraction. And because fracking allows us to put a previously inaccessible reservoir of carbon from beneath our feet into the atmosphere, it also contributes to global climate change.

But as we assess the pros and cons, decisions should be based on existing empirical evidence and fracking should be evaluated relative to other available energy sources.

What exactly is fracking, or more formally hydraulic fracturing?

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